Sandra Ridley has received the bpNichol Award, the Alfred G. Bailey Prize, and was twice short-listed for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry (once for a collaborative manuscript with Amanda Earl). Her first book of poetry, Fallout, a finalist for the Ottawa Book Award, won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Publishing. Her second collection of poetry, Post-Apothecary, was published in fall 2011 with Pedlar Press. She's the 2012 winner of the IFOA’s Battle of the Bards.
Before running on nightshade & wormwood in a topiary maze.
Before hawthorn punctures her arm : poison tipped.
Before a peck of stones, she handpicks or pockets,
she is camphor-doused
by a fold of wool : wet & held tight to her eyes.
Before his screen & clips & the red light & darkening, his hands pressed
to his switchboard & mirror : apparatus of the in-out & charged.
Before her fluoroscopic diapositive &
the smell of two kinds of heat.
Nothing left hidden in her body.
Before & after, there is only this : four corners to a room
& the others pounding at the door.
For all the corruption in her body :
she is linen wrapped
& straight-jacked under his muslin tight sack
as salt stains her throat
& down leather strapped by collar bone.
Behind un-papered walls
she is held
& suspended – not heavy & dragging
or veiled by sulphur
light & swinging.
Fully encased in his plaster cast,
she is strung from above for a fortnight :
blood on her bitten lip,
a lick of rain
on a boarded window, her aberrant crack